I've had the flu for about a week, and my body and my swing have suffered. Two days ago, I went to the driving range hoping that swinging the sticks would pull me out of my funk. It did initially, but then my weakened bod pooped out and I either made poor contact or hit the ball well but short, which didn't feel good at all.
Ah, but what a difference a day makes! Yesterday, I felt a little better physically but hit a ton better. Afterward, I joked to my wife that the only thing that sick golfers have to do to instantly brighten a dim mood is go the driving range when a 20-yard wind is at their back.
When I said this, I was joking, high as a kite with how I had hit the ball at the range. But the more I thought about it, the more I liked this advice. The most attractive part – more yardage – is actually the least important benefit of hitting at the range on a big-wind day.
The biggest benefit to your swing is you really are rewarded for tempo. First, you are instantly relaxed because you know all you have to do is get the ball in the air and that gale force wind is going to zoom your ball farther down the fairway than it's ever gone before. That feeds your head with good stuff, right there. But you really slow it down and swing with tempo and form. Your balance is right, your contact is right on and your finish is fabulous. It's a swing that feels effortless and fun.
"The problem is greed, of course."
The problem is greed, of course. I forced myself to subtract at least 20 yards from my results and to try my best to ignore the yardage markers and pay attention to the ball flight, form, balance and belt-buckle-to-target finish. Other guys, however, were giddy with distance, hitting harder and harder in order to go longer and longer. Unfortunately, while there were a few big booms to brag about, there were a lot of swing boo-boos that seemed to become habit-forming.
A great swing is in you, and it comes out when you slow down and let tempo dictate. To drive home tempo, go to the range on a gusty day. Ignore the distances (as much as you can, anyway) and incorporate the easy swing and fine form.